How long should compile take?

Last week I was writing and constantly compiling and recompiling a chapter of my thesis that was 5000 words. Compiling took no time at all. Now though, I’m working on a different chapter and compiling (12,500 words, lots of numbered items and cross references, about 10 images), seems to be taking a very long time. I stopped the last one after about 25 minutes and this one has been going for 10 or so.

I actually have no idea how long a compile should be expected to run for in the case of longer projects.

25 minutes and counting…

Okay, I know what the issue was.

I had inserted images as pdfs, not pngs, which clearly is no good (probably mentioned in the manual somewhere), but on the rtf compile, it just looks like it’s continuing to compile. I only figured it out after I halted it and ran the pdf compile, which took seconds. But when I went to open the pdf, I saw that it was only 8 pages (out of ~45) and stopped where an image should have been.

It would be good if the compile process gave some feedback if there was a problem.

When you have a problem like this, where compile doesn’t go through, the best thing to do is this:

  1. Open the Preferences.

  2. In the “General” pane, turn on “Show internal error alerts”.

This will cause Scrivener to throw up an error alert message whenever an internal exception (error) is thrown. (This is turned off by default because there are too many harmless errors that get thrown by OS X itself or by external plugins when doing innocuous things such as opening contextual menus, and there is no way to distinguish between them.)

Now go to Compile again - my guess is that an error will get thrown. When an internal error gets thrown, it can stop things from completing. So this would be a bug that needs addressing.

I’ve had a couple of users send errors like this to me related to PDFs in the text. The problem is that Scrivener has to convert PDF images to PNG or JPG when compiling to RTF, .doc, .docx and .odt, because it has to pipe through RTF for all these formats and there is no way of embedding PDF images into RTF in such a way that they will appear properly in most word processors. And it seems that for particularly large PDFs are failing, causing a memory overflow, when getting converted to another format. I have a sample PDF that someone has sent me that shows this bug, and have it on my list to look at for the next update. If you have another PDF that also causes this, then please send it along to me, if you can, and I’ll include that in my tests.

Thanks and all the best,